Amazon 1-Click Patent about to expire

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If you’ve ever placed a 1-Click order you’ve probably clicked a button, completed a purchase with your stored credentials and thought nothing of it. Why would you? The fewer the number of clicks to make a purchase the less friction there is for the customer and hence the more orders the retailer gets.

Well this could all become more frequent as a little known Amazon patent is about to expire on the 11th of September 2017. Yes, you guessed it, Amazon patented One-Click checkout in 1997 with the patent granted in 1999. Amazon also owns the “1-Click” trademark. Anyone using a 1-Click checkout is probably currently paying Amazon for the privilege.

Here in the UK and EU we’re a little luckier as Amazon’s 1-Click patent was registered with the European Patent Office who promptly denied it as being reliant on existing innovations such as cookies. In the US, retailers such as Barnes and Noble (back in 1999 Amazon was just a book shop and so a direct competitor) had to change their checkout to a 2-Click process in order to cease infringing Amazon’s patent.

It always strikes me as bizarre the type of things that can be patented. For instance did you know that the innocent Smilie beloved of just about every messaging app is owned by The Smilie Company. Any product sold with the depiction of a smilie should be paying royalties. The Smilie is registered in around 100 countries around the world!

 
The good news for retailers around the world and especially in the US is that from the 12th of September anyone will be able to reduce the number of their steps in checkout to a single click. A 2-Click checkout is just annoying, especially once you know that the only reason you have to click twice is because the retailer has refused to be held to ransom by a patent.

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